Read Me a Story

When did it begin for you? Reading, and a certain love for books. Maybe some don’t so much love to read, but memories of a certain childhood book stand out. I would be willing to bet there is some book – some particular story – from your past that brings back those fond memories.

For me as a child, there was no better moment than curling up next to my mother to hear her begin or continue a good story. I admit, she read to me much too long for my own good. While I loved the stories, when it came time for me to read all by myself, I found it quite difficult.

My earliest memories are of fairy tale books – especially Crimson Book of Fairy Tales. There were also the Alger stories. Few will remember those. Mom brought those stories from her own childhood. Each was the saga of a young boy, alone and destitute, who somehow found and re-connected with his rich uncle or grandparent. Freddy the Pig lived on in our house for a long while, and The Bobbsey Twins. Not too many years ago, my daughter found and returned to my bookshelf two treasured memories, Big Farmer Big and Little Farmer Little. My wife has a similar bookshelf treasure, Let’s Have A Parade, a build-up book by Jeffery Victor and Frances Wells. She also has fond memories of Snip, Snap and Snur. As grown-up and mother, a few favorites are: Amelia Bedelia, The Little Engine That Could, Poky Little Puppy and Blink, the Patchwork Bunny.

Younger generations might not identify with some of these stories. For you, there might be The Best Nest, Green Eggs and Ham, or any of the Doctor Seuss books. A variety of Golden Books like Scuffy the Tugboat and The Lucky Puppy come to mind. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were popular once children could take on the task of reading by themselves. Maybe some were drawn to Little Black, A Pony, or to Charlotte’s Web or Curious George.

A collection of readers from grade school honors a shelf in our home. No longer used by teachers, the series began with Dick and Jane. Each year the books got thicker, the stories more complex. I loved that time in school, not so much because I was reading, but because I was learning about people, our country, and the way we and others lived. Reading a paragraph in class could be torturous. Listening to others was sometimes worse.

The desire to read, it seems to me, is such an important aspect of life. We live in a busy, sometimes chaotic world. These are times when we all need to step away, immerse ourselves in something peaceful, and recharge our batteries. A good book is one such way to accomplish that.

So, in the month of May, here’s to all moms who somehow find time and energy to curl up next to their youngsters and read them a story. It must be really difficult for multi-tasking moms to keep up with all that’s expected. But, I can’t imagine one who would not read to their story-loving child. Happy Mother’s Day, wherever you are.

P.S.     For a little added discussion, what was your favorite story and why? Let’s begin a conversation in the comments below about books, children and the importance of bringing them together.

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